Thursday, 4 March 2010

Justice League: Cry for Justice #7 review

I like a big stupid blockbuster as much as the next person. Massive disasters, bombastic dialogue, it's all good . . . except when the story can't get from point A to point B without characters who are Too Stupid Too Live.

And that sums up every hero in this book. Green Lantern, the Atom, Green Arrow, all these and more are here unable to use their skills and powers, their brains and experience, to foil the schemes of one man. Yes, the destruction of Star City is well underway as this finale issue begins, but the perpetrator, Prometheus, is in League custody. Available to end the destruction are heroes with magic rings, super strength, ultra-speed, and yet not a single building is seen to be saved. Green Lantern doesn't so much as throw up a few supports. Firestorm carries people on lumps of pavement rather than throwing his incredible power set at the big picture. That sort of thing.

With the threat of similar destruction across the world via cunningly planted bombs, the heroes have no choice but to let Prometheus go free in exchange for deactivation codes. Because he can counter any attempt to force him to give up the information - knock out a mental maven via psychic feedback, stop magical attacks - anything. So what if Prometheus is neither magical nor telepathic, he's The Man With the Plan and in the DC Universe (see Batman, Deathstroke etc) a bit of forward thinking always wins the day.

Burying a bomb under a river but want to keep speedsters at bay? No problem, simply arrange it so that unless the 'exact cubic tonnage' of water surrounds the explosive, it goes off. And so on. It's silly, and not in a good way. Prometheus is so brilliant, and the heroes so rubbish, that when it comes down to 'free the guy and get the codes, or let millions die', the good guys are utterly paralysed with indecision in a laughable two-page spread. A decision has to be made and the JLA and chums decide to have a conference call. 'What do we do?' 'No! No way he walks!' 'We're loosing (sic)' 'I don't know what to say.'

This really is excruciating stuff from writer James Robinson; it might work on TV, with quick cuts and split second flashes of dialogue, but laid out on the page it's corny and unconvincing. And the internal monologue given to the blue Starman as he's meant to be helping people would disgrace an afternoon soap. Which is weird, because sometimes you can read a James Robinson comic - such as the recent Starman: Blackest Night - and be thrilled by the subtlety and smarts of the script.

Not here, where you're more likely to laugh at the words given to poor Freddy Freeman, his lips sewn together to prevent him summoning his Marvel-powered form: 'Yeath. Juth get m'to the dewiseth! Matgic of Shaztham!' After a few lines of this I was expecting two magic words: 'Thufferin thuccotash!'

The big emotional moment is the death of Lian, Roy Harper's cute little daughter, crushed by a building. Allegedly 90,000 people perish as Star City falls but poor old Lian - whose demise was cleverly hinted at in the set-after-this Titans #21 a couple of months back - is the only corpse in the book. It sucks to be a superhero's kid, but the tragedies are necessary for the upcoming adventures of Grim Arrow and Stumpy. Super.

The close of this story sees said Ollie Queen finally finds a target
- Prometheus' stupid helmet and the brain matter behind. As it's the end of the mini, suddenly there is something Prometheus hasn't planned for, while a hero is allowed to remember his skill set. The contrivances are a bit rich but nevertheless the death of Prometheus provides the most satisfactory moment of the series.

Mauro Cascioli, Scott Clark and Ibraim Roberson handle the pencils and, backed by a veritable league of inkers and colourists, produce mostly attractive, effective work. While some of the emotional beats called for by the script are a tad OTT, the artists capture them just fine. And someone had a very good time drawing Starfire's cosmic bottom trying to escape her hips - an honourable DC tradition.

So it's over. Seven issues, most of them annoying, and yet I bought the things so more fool me. I nearly dropped the book once or twice but my faith in James Robinson, along with the saddo aspect of having to know how the story ends, kept bringing me back. Of course, the story isn't ending, as the plights of Ollie Queen and Roy Harper lead into a JLA special, Arsenal mini and an arc in Green Arrow's book. We're promised falls, rises . . . maybe some people will eat this up, but it's not for me. I'll stick with James' current run on the regular JLA book, which is already proving more to my taste than Cry For Justice. I should have cried off after the first issue.

If only Ollie were taking off the mask his homage to Horatio Caine would be complete

16 comments:

  1. It's a pity, I use to really rather like the rather dysfunctional Green Arrow family. I'm trying not to nitpick the issue too much as I'm afraid I won't be able to stop should I start.

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  2. Oh go on Jason! For me :)

    Or maybe approach it from the point of view of looking for the good points?

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  3. man comparing Cry for Justice to dumb action movies insults the intelligent of stupid action flicks.

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  4. Yeah ... I thought this ended with a clunk and overall was pretty bad. My review will be up today.

    Disappointing.

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  5. " ... but the tragedies are necessary for the upcoming adventures of Grim Arrow and Stumpy." Well, there you go. You made me really laugh about something that otherwise just makes me grumpy.

    Can you imagine if certain folks at DC had the Sherlock Holmes franchise? Hhhmmm ... Bomb 212b Baker Street, kill off Mrs Hudson after she's had a few tearful scenes paralysed & unable to say who did the terrible deed. Then, reveal Watson is actually a hypnotised spy for the supposedly-dead Moriaty, poor Watson who set the bomb & can't help himself. Holmes will eventually have to murder good old Watson at the Reichenbach Falls after lots of working out & kung fu lessons. Then, a buttock-clenched-with-trauma Holmes rises from the waters with his teeth REALLY gritted swearing to murder the Czar, because the Germans are to blame somehow & ... er ... Moriaty has used his new shape-changing powers to replace the German monarch. Meanwhile, a previously unknown niece of Holmes is being tortured by his psychotic brother Mycroft ....

    I'm peeved, Mart, I'm peeved ...

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  6. And you made me laugh right back . . . as you spoil DC’s upcoming seven issue Sherlock relaunch!

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  7. Seven issues? YOU CAN'T GET ENOUGH ANGST IN SEVEN ISSUES! There's more than 100 years of Sherlock stories to turn on their head!

    I demand a twelve-year maxi-series, with painted everything. Everything painted. In blood red .... BLOOD!

    OK. I'll get me coat ... I'll stop now ... but I'm peeved, Mart ...

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  8. Peeved ... yet so dashed entertaining.

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  9. See that panel with Black Canary with her hand on her face? She just realized her mistake in participating in this mini-series.

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  10. So what is it with this current penchant for "loosing" and the extraneous "of" (not that big of a deal, etc)?? Did these people never go to school?

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  11. It's nice to see you review something and not try to look on the bright side!

    I thought art-wise the story telling was crap, the 'flow' of the panels didn't make much sense for the first half of the comic.

    How did Green Arrow get into Prometheus's hide out anyway? I hadn't bought the rest of this series so when Prometheus says "How did you get in here" I was in the dark as much as he was...

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  12. @And-Ru
    "How did Green Arrow get into Prometheus's hide out anyway? I hadn't bought the rest of this series so when Prometheus says "How did you get in here" I was in the dark as much as he was..."

    I'm guessing some other writer will eventually come along and say Green Arrow had help from another hero or heroes and they all plotted to kill Prometheus and that'll be the next "shocking" crossover that will run six highly touted and delayed issues with an entertainment to dollar value reminiscent to a root canal.

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  13. Justice League #42 the other week - the Shade helps Oliver go somewhere and do something he might regret . . . this never made sense until CFJ #7.

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  14. Ahhh... Okay so that was actually thought through. And it didn't even take a mini-series to explain.

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  15. WHAT?!?!?!

    So understanding the finale of Cry For Justice depends on the reading having bought JLA 42 some months previously?

    Honestly. I don't know why I'm buying these things still! It's like I'm paying to be insulted!!

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